David Moyes admits he 'regrets' Wayne Rooney treatment which he copied from Sir Alex Ferguson

David Moyes has recalled how he treated a young Wayne Rooney
-Credit: (Image: The Rest Is Football/YouTube)

David Moyes regrets copying a Sir Alex Ferguson tactic in his handling of Wayne Rooney.

Manchester United legend Rooney burst onto the scene as a 16-year-old with Everton before making his senior England debut aged 17, starring at Euro 2004 before moving to Old Trafford. Moyes, knowing he had an exceptional young talent at his disposal, tried to steer the emerging superstar down the right path at Goodison Park.

In trying to keep outside distractions to a minimum, the Scot, a young manager at the time, admitted he struggled to deal with the situation. He told The Rest is Football podcast he tried to copy Ferguson’s firm treatment of a young Ryan Giggs, but accepts that didn’t work for him nor Rooney.

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Moyes explained: “You’ve got to remember, I was a really young manager as far as that goes. I had nobody to look at in how to handle it. One you could say was how did Fergie control Giggsy?

"Obviously, Alex did it with an iron rod, which the Scottish managers did around that time. I was like that but I don’t think it suited Wayne that I was like that because I’m saying, ‘make sure you’re not doing that’, ‘make sure you’re not out there’. There’s bits of it, when you look back, that you regret.

“He changed his agent. I’m like, ‘what’s he doing here? How’s this going to work?’ Before we knew it we were getting Coca-Cola adverts or something else coming in, and I didn’t like it."

Moyes was desperate to keep hold of Rooney, going to extreme lengths to try and keep interested parties at bay - which was ultimately unsuccessful when United paid £25.6million to secure his services.

Wayne Rooney at Euro 2004, where he was one of the players of the tournament
Wayne Rooney at Euro 2004, where he was one of the players of the tournament -Credit:Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

“Wayne might not know this but I used to go wherever he was playing. Made his debut for England, I was there. I was out there in Portugal when he broke his metatarsal [at Euro 2004].

“The papers were saying Wayne’s meeting on a yacht out in... I’m f****** raging as I didn’t want to let anyone near him, because I really wanted to keep him.”

The pair were reunited at United, albeit briefly, when Moyes replaced Sir Alex as manager. He still regards Rooney as he best player he has managed. “Yeah, when I went to Manchester United, there were some fantastic players there, some really good footballers,” he added.